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HR monitors...Yay or Nay?

I'm new to Triathlon and have already started my training. I cannot decide whether to use a HR monitor or not. I understand the benifits of training within a % zone, however I would like to see if anybody says no to this modern technology and just judges their 'zone'.

All opinions and ideas would be great!



  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    All right gruffy, maybe without knowing, but you're asking a daring question. I expect some serious debat about this one. It has already been discussed in the past, but no agreements are reached.

    For example the next thread was partly about it: http://forum.220magazine.com/tm.asp?m=10016 .

    I'll probably be one of the minority who doesn't use a hrm. Recent study in England has shown that people can actually recognise training zones through their own body's behaviour and reaction. There are guys in my club who can actually tell their heart rate almost exactlybefore even watching their hrm.[image]http://forum.220magazine.com/micons/m6.gif[/image]

    I know that there will follow some pro-hrm propaganda now. I believe that hrm's can be helpfull, but definetely not a necescity.

    (please don't shoot me all at once[8D]).
  • gruffymaxgruffymax Posts: 21
    Tee hee, I did wonder if it might cause a possible debate!

    If im honest, I like the idea of training without one so that you feel more in tune with your body. Perhaps using one at first to demonstrate the zones and feelings related to 80% max would be useful.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Let the HRM be your guide - use its data for your training diary and follow trends. Avoid being its slave .... sometimes you just want to blast it and other times you just want to doddle. Listen to your body and let the HRM interpret. Generally after a while you instictively know what pace
  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    agree with SuperFrog, useful to have and great for specific training, but you can tell a lot just by listening to your body.

    Nice to back it all up with data though ;-)
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I just love printing off those graphs, overlaying the graphs, ohhh the graphs...But seriously folks, you do soon feel instinctively where you are in your zones, I mostly look at mine to check I am right.

    When I am trying a new routine/workout I pay more attention, but once I have it nailed, I download & confirm..so as said before, a great toy/tool but do not become its slave...go run like you just stole something, go ride like you just got rid of your stabilisers, go swim like....ummm
  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Hi there,

    I'm using one these days - it's a simple one though, without all the fancy gizzmo's and charts etc as I am a bit of a techno numpty and don't understand all that stuff.

    However I've been using it to really try and work within the right HR zones. I seem to have all the stamina/endurance I need and am really happy plodding along at my own pace, which I can do for absolutely ages. However, ask me to sprint and I'm worn out in no time. I also really struggle on the run - I'm just rubbish at running basically. So, I was advised that I had to do lots and lots of zone based training to get my body used to producing energy more efficiently and allow me to speed up.

    Like the others, I think each to their own - you've got to do what feels best for you.
  • BARNYBARNY Posts: 157
    I am so tempted by the graphs!!! ;0)

    I coudl be sitting here comparing my last two weeks rides to work vs heart rate vs speed vs cadence vs altitude.... but i've spent too much already!

    Get a cheap HRM give ita go and see if you like it - I find it sometimes nice to focus on while putting in the miles.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Hey...I don't understand the graphs..I just like them.
  • JaxyJaxy Posts: 1
    Hi everyone.

    This too is my first season and I have bought an HRM, as whenever I read anything about training it always suggest what zone to train in etc.... So I thought to aid my training and help improve my performance I'd buy a HRM. Last week I used it for the first time. Going by a training plan in 220 magazine I set the HRM to 60-70% and set off on my regular run. A couple of minutes into the run I check the HRM, it read 92%! It remained in this zone for most of my run and although a knew I was working hard, it felt comfortable. Like I said my regular run at my regular pace. If I was to 'run' at 60-70% I don't think I would hardly be moving and therefore probably feel as though I've haven't achieved anything. So am I doing something wrong, or is it the case that maybe we should just listen to what our body is telling us??

  • i started with one a fer months ago and think its great. if i stay in zone 2 i can go for 3 hours or so with out looking for sugar.

    i am fimally buring off the stubborn fat.

    if i go any faster, and i can go a lot faster ,especially over the half marathon distance, i have drink loads of sports drink to stop me boinking.

    i am trying to do what that guy did in last months mag. resist going fast, and training my anerobic engine.

  • paulfitzpaulfitz Posts: 67
    I started using one this year too, and it is nice numerical way of knowing u are getting fitter. (same distance, same time, lower heart rate is as good a signal as just doing things in less time)

    I agree you do get to learn where you should be, but you have to have used a HRM for a while to get this, so those that dont use one are going on knowledge gained from when they did use it.

    I think it gives you something to focus on too, even without the graphs, rather than 'just running' etc. I use the zones stuff too, but I wouldnt use the percentages, I worked out my Max HR and kept it in bands.

    92% of max HR being comfortable sounds highly inplausable, as you should be right up in your anaerobic range there and couldnt keep that up for ever

  • nbn2007nbn2007 Posts: 1
    Bear in mind a common mistake on HR training - the commonly-used training band percentages are NOT based on maximum HR, but on working HR + resting HR. Working HR is the difference between your max HR and your resting HR.

    So, if you have max HR of 200 and resting of 60, 85% training rate would be 179 BPM (200-60 x 85% + 60).

    Compare this to 85% of max HR: 170 BPM.

    This is why a lot of people train at the wrong intensity for what they are trying to achieve.

  • trevtritrevtri Posts: 39
    like legal beagle im crap at the run i have started to use a hrm over the last month or so brilliant on the bike can get my HR to specified level over an hour and half totally dif on the run though HR goes way over even on 25min run frightens the living daylights out of me sometimes so iver stopped using till im bit more use to running. by all means brilliant kit but just be wary specially when your doing exercise your not good at you will get some way funny readings

  • learnerlearner Posts: 100
    Sorry, I fall straight into the I LOVE MY HRM group. I use it all the time, 115bpm doing the hoovering and ironing, 123bpm thinking about choclate....

    but seriously i did a sprint last sunday and came out after the swim at 160bpm, couldn't believe it. By monitoring I could ensure didn't go right into lactate zone and so completed rather than blow up. I put my high bpm during the swim to a spot of sheer panic when some walrus swam over the top of me and scared the living poo out of me. Live and learn. Good fun though cos he went off in totaly the wrong direction, oh how i laughed, coughed spluttered.......
  • trispacetrispace Posts: 25
    Excellent point by nbn2007 and should be practiced by all, makes training in Zones much more specific to an individual.

    I’ve been using a HR monitor for ages in training and racing, lets me know how good or bad I’m doing as well as what I should be doing. However, for my birthday this year my wife kindly bought me a Garmin 305!!! Result. Not only do I have stats on % HR etc but a whole host of other GPS stats like average speed, pace per mile, distance covered and so on. Talk about graphical information overload, it reminds me of some sort of A-Level exam question. Saying that though, it is an excellent piece of kit, and comes in around the same price as some of Polar’s top end HR monitors. If you’ve got the cash, or a kind wife, go for a Garmin !!!

  • Chris JChris J Posts: 71
    For what it's worth I use my HRM religiously. However, whilst training I find it very hard work and it takes massive effort to train at the higher intensities. On the other hand I raced the Castle Combe Duathlon on Weds evening (what a way to spend your birthday!) and although I had my HRM on, (it's a graph thing) I raced on 'feel'. Consequently I managed a much higher HR for the duration for the race than my previous training experiences would have led me believe was possible.

    Go figure

  • The other grat thing about modern HRMs is the GPS side of things - it makes training so much more rewarding - have a look at my post about the malmesbury route and you can see what I mean

  • learnerlearner Posts: 100
    combatdwarf, no wonder you use it all the time when it shows that much info...
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